Criminal charges are unlikely in the death of 4-year-old Taylor Becker after a dog attack, Dodge County authorities said Thursday.
The girl’s death Wednesday afternoon in the wake of the attack at a family friend’s home in the town of Hubbard was caused by blood loss, the county’s medical examiner reported Thursday.
“There were numerous wounds,” medical examiner P.J. Schoebel said. “She was bitten multiple times. She did receive help fairly quickly, but these were nonsurvivable injuries. They were very severe injuries. This truly was a tragedy.”
Taylor, daughter of Jennifer and Brian Becker of Hustisford, was alone in the backyard with a 5-year-old AKC boxer named Rocky when the attack occurred, Dodge County Sheriff Todd Nehls said Thursday.
“We have no witnesses,” he said. “We have no idea what happened. The dog has no history of violence.”
Nehls said criminal charges seem unlikely.
Dog tied in backyard
The Beckers were visiting the home of church friends Steven and Stefanie Beauprey when the attack occurred. The families are members of the Pentecostal House of Worship near Horicon, according to Alice Beauprey, mother of Steven Beauprey and a pastor at the church.
Nehls said the dog was apparently tied to a pole on a leash and chain — giving it access to the entire backyard — at the home on East Neda Road near Iron Ridge, about 14 miles northwest of Hartford. A female boxer and five puppies also were in the house.
Authorities suspect Rocky slipped out of his collar and attacked the girl while she was playing in the yard shortly before 1 p.m.
The girl was unresponsive when authorities arrived. She was taken by Mayville EMS and Beaver Dam paramedics to Beaver Dam Community Hospital, where she died at 2 p.m., according to the Sheriff’s Department.
Jennifer Becker, mother of the victim, declined to be interviewed when reached by phone Thursday afternoon.
Steven and Stefanie Beauprey have three children; the Beckers also have a 5-year-old son, Nehls said.
Not a violent breed
Dog experts said Thursday that boxers are not known for violent behavior.
Carl Fritscher of Madison, spokesman for Green Acres Boxer Rescue of Wisconsin, said such tragedies can be avoided.
“It all comes down to socialization of the dog and supervision of children,” he said. “It’s not a breed issue. A well-socialized dog is very unlikely to do something like this.”
Rocky remains at the Dodge County Humane Society. Humane Society executive director Patrice Vossekuil said the boxer is quarantined, as the law requires, for 10 days.
The American Kennel Club reports that one of the boxer breed’s most notable characteristics is its desire for human affection, especially from children. “They are patient and spirited with children, but also protective, making them a popular choice for families,” the AKC website says.
Patricia McConnell, an animal behaviorist and adjunct associate professor of zoology at UW-Madison, said dogs kill about 15 people a year in the United States, though others believe that number is higher.
Steven Beauprey was investigated in February 2009 when he brought four sick puppies to the Dodge County Humane Society, but investigators found no wrongdoing on Beauprey’s part, Nehls said Thursday.
Nehls said the Beaupreys had purchased the four Bernese mountain dogs from a Missouri puppy mill. They were sick with mange when Beauprey bought them and in roughly the same condition when they were euthanized by the Dodge County Humane Society, Nehls said.
“After our investigation, we decided that nothing inappropriate was done by any individual (in Wisconsin), nor were any charges or citations warranted. And there was nothing that warranted any further investigation,” he said.